Often around acacia creek, residents don’t gaze
through windows, but at them.
nine historic stained glass windows, about 4. 5 feet by
9 feet apiece, are on display around the senior living
community. Dating back to 1925, each depicts a masonic
symbol, including the square and compass, the gavel,
the eastern Star, and even royal arch imagery.
the windows arrived at acacia creek by way of the
old masonic hall in courtland, the one-time home of
Franklin lodge no. 143. In 1925 Franklin hall association
paid $1,600 for them, and installed them in tribute to
deceased members. masonic organizations met in the
kaleidoscope glow of their stained glass for the next
80 years. those who grew up in the area’s youth orders
remember gazing up at them as children. One lodge
master set up outdoor lights to beam inward through
them during his evening installation.
Franklin lodge consolidated in 2008, and courtland
masonic hall was put up for sale. luckily, acacia creek
planners stepped up to salvage the windows. they
removed them from the hall, eased them into a custom-built crating system, and transported them to the acacia
creek campus in union city. the community opened
shortly after, in 2010.
Because of their fragile condition, the nine windows
hang indoors and are backlit for optimum viewing.
to ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy them,
they’re dispersed throughout the campus, from the
lobby to the private dining room, and they’re a favorite
architectural element for residents and staff.
and while the acacia creek community may be just a
few years old, these artifacts remind residents and staff
of a longer history. In courtland and now in their second
life at acacia creek, the windows also illuminate one of
the possibilities of architecture: how meaningful details
can turn a place into a home.
View photos of these historic windows in the
Aug/Sep 2009 issue of California Freemason
members, Mendocino Lodge No. 179 is a prime example of
Masons literally and figuratively carving out a place for themselves on California’s rugged northern coast. When construction
on the lodge began in 1866, the lodge and the town of Mendocino
were remote outposts located more than 150 miles north of San
Francisco, then itself a town of only 100,000.
The wealth of coastal redwood timber and the lodge’s proximity to, and association with, the local lumber mill obviated
the use of any other material. And most non-wood elements had
to be purchased at great expense in San Francisco, requiring
days of travel by foot, horse, wagon, or boat. As a result, while
many temples feature lodge rooms with elaborately carved
wooden details, Mendocino Lodge is one of the only temples
constructed entirely of wood.
The lodge’s first (and four-time) master, Erick Albertson, spent
seven years building the lodge timber-by-timber as finances
allowed. Originally lit by candles, its dirt floor covered with sawdust, the lodge room eventually included the still-existing gas
lighting fixtures and elevated wood floors. Albertson then carved
the ornate details still found throughout its magnificent interior as
well as the now-famous sculpture that adorns the lodge’s cupola.
Known as “Time and the Maiden,” the statue was hewn from
a single redwood trunk by Albertson near his cabin on the beach
and represents the credo that “time, patience, and perseverance
will accomplish all things.” Current master Gerald Bates notes
that Mendocino Lodge will celebrate its 150-year anniversary in
2015, marking the sesquicentennial of a lodge that has survived
the 1906 earthquake, as well as a complete relocation.
Today the building stands as a monument to its members’
devotion and has been justly distinguished. Named to the
National Register of Historic Places in 1971, it reflects the practice of Freemasonry the world over.
As Bates says of the lodge, “What our first leaders did with
their resources must be seen to be believed.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Masons throughout California. The
structures built by early brothers are a testament to the devotion,
leadership, and brotherly love they instilled in lodges from the
beginning – a legacy that continues statewide today.